ATP Masters 1000Mutua Madrid OpenRoger Federer

Federer beats Berdych to Win in Madrid

COME ON! Great performance from Roger here in a very tough match against Thomas Berdych. Fed had to use all his guile and experience to get himself over the line in 3 difficult sets and in doing so won his 20th ATP Masters 1000 title to equal the record set by some Spanish player.

I was hoping that Roger would be able to put on another clinic today just like in his victory against Tipsarevic but the first set was all about Berdych. Federer created 0-30 in Berdych's opening service game but the Czech was totally pulverising his ground strokes and serve from the get go and subsequently held.

At 30-30 in Feds first service game, he played a very casual looking choppy approach shot that went straight into the net. He was caught in two minds really and played the wrong type of shot. This let Berdych in and he sealed the break with a huge return into the open court.

The one break proved to be decisive as Berdych was really zoning in. As I tweeted during the match it was important that Roger hung tough in the match and stuck around long enough for Berdychs' level to drop. It was actually a real bonus that Roger managed to hold serve at 5-2 as it meant he would serve first in the second set.

It wasn't unrealistic to think the match could get away from Fed the way Berdych was playing especially in the 3 set format but he fashioned a break early to lead 2-0. Barring a shocking umpiring decision from Layhani (see the video below), where he gave the point to Berdych despite the ball bouncing twice, the second set was all about solid serving from Fed and Berdshits 1st serve % dropping ever so slightly.

Poor Umpiring from Leyhani

Roger served for it at 5-3 but was broken, 2 quick service games from each player and it looked like it would be heading into a tie break. Fed however had other ideas and broke again after Berdych double faulted to take the match into a decider.

After levelling the match I put Federer back as favourite as he'd managed to nullify the Berdych game throughout the second set with a combination of great serving and some immense running forehands creating the craziest of angles.

It's difficult to put into words how much Roger was tested in the final set, he slipped to 0-30 in his opening 3 service games and he really had to dig deep to keep himself alive in the match. At 4-3, Fed upped his game and made a move, he hit probably his best return of serve of the match to create BP and got it when Berdych went long with a backhand.

As usual the drama wasn't over, serving for the match at 5-3 Fed's 1st serve went AWOL and he only made 1 of 6 to relinquish the break. Yet again another poor decision from Leyhani probably cost Roger the game as it meant he lost the all important first point. A serve caught the line, was called out, and even though Berdych wasn't getting it back in play for love nor money he deemed that the call was off putting. FAIL.

Almost like an action replay of the second set both players held their next service games and Roger led 6-5. He once again made a move. One point in my mind stands out where Roger hit 2 big forehands to get on top in the rally only for Berdych to hit an even bigger forehand cross court to get the initiative back, Roger then came up with an absolute dream of a short slice backhand which quite simply bamboozled Berdych and all he could do was hit it wide. Immense.

To his credit Berdych saved 3 match points but at the 4th time of asking Roger sealed it winning his 3rd title in Madrid and his 74th on the tour. Awesome.

One of the Cute Twins Nearly Falls Over in the Trophy Presentation

Haha this look on Mirka's face here is pirceless. Hopefully the video starts at 9 minutes.

My thoughts on Roger's Victory

This was really a great week for Fed fans and it's meant Roger has kept up his winning streak that started after last years US Open.

Roger was able to come through a great match against Raonic that could have gone either way, put on 3 JesusFed shows against Gasquet, Ferrer and Tispsarevic and then battle to another title today against Berdych. It is pretty incredible what the winning mindset can do to a player and it's certainly allowing Roger to take down matches where he's often on the back foot. There really is nothing that can stop it at the moment, he's handling big servers, slippy conditions, wind and making the majority of players look totally average.

His serve has been impeccable all week and he's proved that he has the most adaptable game on tour and probably of all time. Whilst everyone else has been moaning and making empty threats they won't be playing next year because of the surface, Roger has just gotten on with his matches and let his tennis do the talking. The one negative to take from it all is that we know now that once Roger retires, tennis is going to be in a sad sad state as there's nobody that can take the mantle of ambassador of the game. Nadal is a humble fraudster and Djokovic still lacks the maturity and intelligence of how to behave in the right manner.

Awesome Racket Head Control

Check this shit out, cray catch, thanks to @KJOttawa for finding the video

A song to put it all together

And finally here's a tune I heard the other day that I've been playing on repeat. It's called “A Real Hero” and I thought it was pretty fitting after today's match I'm sure you'll agree.

I'll be back blogging when Rome starts, assuming Roger plays, I heard rumours he wasn't certain to be, and after today where my twitter timeline was flooded with talk of a hip injury? Is that confirmed?


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. Similar to the Raonic match, this one could have gone either way. I actually felt Berdych outplayed Roger. He took his chances and nearly pulled of it. Of course, he paid for some of that extra risk as well, but that’s how one needs to play in order to beat the best. While I love seeing Roger win with grit in addition to his unparalleled finesse, his inability to conjure up first serves when closing out the 2nd set and match had me a bit worried. Luckily he made up for it anyway. That, and he continually dug himself out of holes reminiscent of many years ago so I was encouraged by that. So looking forward to the rest of the clay season and beyond. Such an amazing run he’s been on!

    1. Yeah it was a tough match that’s for sure! Kinda worrying that his 1st serve went AWOL when serving for it, tenseness in the arm does these things though I guess. The main is thing he came out on the right side of it and won the trophy.

  2. Another quick and well written review!! Good job, Jonathan! I thought that for today’s match, it wouldn’t be a far stretch to say that Fed was JesusFed… I certainly thought he played better than when against Gasquet, but Berdych, to his credit, came up with the goods. Great gritty match here, as with Raonic earlier in the week. Hope this Rome rumour turns out to be just that, although in the interest of things, we do need a balance between Fed overplaying, and Fed actually getting enough clay court practice (made perhaps more necessary by the fact that this surface isn’t particularly similar to the clay of Roland Garros).

    1. Cheers John.

      Yeah Fed said he will travel to Rome today and then decide if he is playing on Wednesday. I’m not too fussed on the decision he makes, he always tends to make the right one as he’s the GOAT scheduler.

  3. You are waay better than “Ruan’s Federer Blog” – he is a whiny, pessimistic BITCH!
    Your blog and site is better 🙂

    1. Entitled to your opinion man but the purpose of the comments section is to talk about tennis and Fed not critique other websites.

      I think you’re wrong too, Ruans blog has been up since 2008 and is one of the best Fed/tennis blogs around. I always think he’s been optimistic for Rogers season and on a match by match basis.

  4. @ Toss off. I think you’re mad at Ruan for being honest, objective andt that he credits other players even if it’s Nadal or Djokovic. I think you’re 100% wrong about him or his blog. It’s shows bad character to criticize people on other websites.

  5. I liked this line very much “.. won his 20th ATP Masters 1000 title to equal the record set by some Spanish player.” When we talk about Federer, we forget everything (especially Nadal).. & yes it was one of his best performances, coming back from a set down to eventually win the match.. While Djokovic & Nadal were busy in criticizing & blaming the blue clay for their early losses at the event, Federer was showing the preparations he had made during a month or so long break.. Way to go Roger

    1. Thanks Nikhil.

      Totally agree man, he didn’t moan about the clay once, as he full well knows its the same for all players. It just so happens that it’s harder to play defensive tennis on. Which one can easily argue that defensive tennis is in fact anti tennis so really the Madrid surface is just desserts.

  6. Hello All. I really hope that Roger does play Rome for three reasons: Firstly he needs to preserve his Number 2 ranking so as to be in the position of a possible favourable draw at the French Open, i.e. that Nadal is drawn against Djokovic in the semi final. If he falls back to Number three he will almost certainly have to play both Nadal + Djokovic at the French, a HUGE task considering both will be playing for their own piece of tennis history; Nadal to achieve the all-time French Open record of 7 slams and Djokovic to achieve what no one has been able to achieve in the Open Era since Rod Laver and become only the third man in history to hold all four slams at the same time ( something which eluded the great Federer twice). Secondly, surely it would be prudent to get some practice on a ‘real’ clay court or at least one which replicates the French Open. Thirdly, Roger has the best draw of the Top 4 ( unlike Madrid ) and has a REAL chance of winning Rome for the first time. And surely he is still relatively fresh following five weeks off so why pull out? Unless of course he knows something we don’t!?

    1. Cheers for commenting Paul.

      From what I saw on twitter (this account – Federer is practising today and plans to play his match tomorrow.

      Apparently, the blue clay is the exact same clay they use at Roland Garros, just blue. I think it’s the altitude that makes the difference but who knows.

      I’m indifferent to whether he plays, because whichever route he chooses will be the right one. If he pulls out then it will be for the right reasons. But it would be nice to head into Paris with number 2 ranking secure.

  7. Great analysis – I’ve sometimes felt there’s not much love lost between Leyhani and RF…but. Glad he won and just proved what great champions are made of – skill + hard work + right attitude and perhaps a stroke a luck 🙂

  8. Should be “Layhani” though. Roger and him had some arguments previously, just like the one in Madrid one year before. He argued the placement with him and caused some intensive moments after that.

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